NEW YORK -- A controversial proposal to help solve New York City's multi-billion dollar budget problem would add $3 to every non-essential package delivered in the city.
The legislation, introduced by Brooklyn Assemblyman Robert Carroll earlier this year, would use the money from the tax for bailing out the MTA. The city's cash-strapped transit system is facing billions of dollars in budget deficits over the next four years caused by drastically reduced ridership during the coronavirus pandemic.
The surcharge would apply to non-essential packages ordered online for delivery, with the exception of those containing food or medicine.
An estimated 1.8 million packages are delivered every day in NYC. The surcharge would raise more than a billion dollars a year for the MTA, which under its proposed budget, may be forced to cut service between 40% to 50%.
Trying to avoid the surcharge would reap benefits too, Carroll said: There would be fewer trucks on the road and less waste if internet companies consolidated orders into fewer boxes.
But most importantly, he says, it could encourage New Yorkers to shop locally.
Critics have likened the proposal to a tax on the poor and working class.
Tim Minton, an MTA spokesman, released the following statement:
"We have been clear only $12 billion in federal relief can prevent drastic service cuts, layoffs and gutting our historic capital plan that would devastate our colleagues and customers. While the MTA welcomes creative solutions and any new revenue, the proposal is subject to the state legislative process and cannot itself solve the problem, which is why we urge continued advocacy in Washington."
Carroll plans to reintroduce the proposal in the new year.